Mastering the Hang Clean Technique for Better Lifts

hang clean

Are you looking to improve your weightlifting game? The hang clean is a popular Olympic lifting technique that can help you gain strength, improve your form, and increase your explosiveness. In this article, we’ll walk you through the proper technique for mastering the hang clean, step-by-step.

Why the Hang Clean is Important

The hang clean is a complex movement that targets multiple muscle groups at once. It requires coordination, timing, and explosive power. Here are some reasons why you should consider adding the hang clean to your training routine:

  • It strengthens your legs, back, shoulders, and arms.
  • It improves your posture, balance, and stability.
  • It enhances your ability to produce force quickly.
  • It helps you develop power for other exercises like squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses.
  • It can improve your overall athleticism and physical performance.

Understanding the Hang Clean Technique

Before diving into the specifics of the hang clean technique, it’s important to understand the basic movement pattern. The hang clean is a two-part lift that involves a pull and a catch. Here’s a breakdown of each phase:

The Pull

  1. Start with the barbell on the floor and your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Bend your knees and hips, and grasp the bar with a shoulder-width grip.
  3. Lift the bar off the floor, keeping your back straight and your shoulders over the bar.
  4. Once the bar reaches your knees, explosively extend your hips and knees, and shrug your shoulders.
  5. Keep your arms straight and the bar close to your body as you pull it up to chest height.

The Catch

  1. As the bar reaches chest height, drop your elbows under the bar and quickly rotate your hands around the bar.
  2. Catch the bar on the front of your shoulders, with your elbows pointing forward and your fingers wrapped around the bar.
  3. Stand up straight, and bring your feet together to complete the lift.

Tips for Mastering the Hang Clean

Now that you understand the basic technique for the hang clean, here are some tips to help you master the lift:

Tip #1: Start with the Right Weight

The hang clean requires explosive power, so it’s important to start with a weight that you can handle comfortably. Begin with a weight that allows you to complete three sets of five reps with good form.

Tip #2: Focus on Form and Technique

As with any exercise, form and technique are crucial for maximizing the benefits of the hang clean. Focus on keeping your back straight, your shoulders over the bar, and your arms straight during the pull phase. During the catch phase, make sure you drop your elbows and rotate your hands quickly to avoid injuring your wrists.

Tip #3: Train in Progressions

The hang clean is a complex lift that requires practice and patience. Start by mastering the individual components of the lift, such as the shrug and the catch, before attempting the full lift. Progress to using lighter weights and gradually increase the weight as you improve your form.

Tip #4: Use Assistance Exercises

Assistance exercises can help you improve your hang clean technique and build strength in the specific muscle groups used during the lift. Some useful assistance exercises include front squats, Romanian deadlifts, and overhead presses.


  1. Is the hang clean suitable for beginners?
  • The hang clean is a complex lift that requires practice and patience, so it may not be suitable for complete beginners. However, with proper guidance and training, beginners can learn the proper technique and gradually work their way up to heavier weights.
  1. How often should I do the hang clean?
  • The frequency of hang clean training will depend on your overall training program and goals. As a compound exercise, it is generally recommended to perform it once or twice a week.
  1. Can the hang clean help with other exercises?
  • Yes, the hang clean can help improve your performance in other exercises that require explosive power, such as the squat, deadlift, and overhead press.
  1. Should I use wrist straps when doing the hang clean?
  • Wrist straps can be helpful for providing extra grip support during heavy lifts, but they are not necessary for the hang clean. Proper grip and technique should be prioritized over relying on straps.
  1. What are some common mistakes to avoid when doing the hang clean?
  • Common mistakes include rounding the back, not fully extending the hips, using too much upper body strength, and not catching the bar properly on the shoulders. It’s important to start with lighter weights and focus on proper form and technique to avoid injury and maximize the benefits of the lift.


The hang clean is a challenging but rewarding exercise that can help you build strength, improve your form, and increase your explosiveness. By following these tips and focusing on proper technique, you can master the hang clean and take your weightlifting game to the next level.